Chemicals used in Teflon and Scotchgard are Toxic?

How the EPA and the Pentagon downplayed a growing toxic threat

GP: Teflon frying pan on wooden table
Teflon frying pan on wooden table
rzoze19 | iStock | Getty Images

 

The chemicals once seemed near magical, able to repel water, oil and stains.

By the 1970s, DuPont and 3M had used them to develop Teflon and Scotchgard, and they slipped into an array of everyday products, from gum wrappers to sofas to frying pans to carpets. Known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, they were a boon to the military, too, which used them in foam that snuffed out explosive oil and fuel fires.

It’s long been known that, in certain concentrations, the compounds could be dangerous if they got into water or if people breathed dust or ate food that contained them. Tests showed they accumulated in the blood of chemical factory workers and residents living nearby, and studies linked some of the chemicals to cancers and birth defects.

More from ProPublica:

Toxic fires

Bombs in our backyard: Open burns, ill winds

In Colfax, echoes of another conflict

Now two new analyses of drinking water data and the science used to analyze it make clear the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense have downplayed the public threat posed by these chemicals. Far more people have likely been exposed to dangerous levels of them than has previously been reported because contamination from them is more widespread than has ever been officially acknowledged.

Moreover, ProPublica has found, the government’s understatement of the threat appears to be no accident.

The EPA and the Department of Defense calibrated water tests to exclude some harmful levels of contamination and only register especially high concentrations of chemicals, according to the vice president of one testing company. Several prominent scientists told ProPublica the DOD chose to use tests that would identify only a handful of chemicals rather than more advanced tests that the agencies’ own scientists had helped develop which could potentially identify the presence of hundreds of additional compounds.

The first analysis, contained in an EPA contractor’s PowerPoint presentation, shows that one chemical — the PFAS most understood to cause harm — is 24 times more prevalent in public drinking water than the EPA has reported. Based on this, the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization whose scientists have studied PFAS pollution, has estimated that as many as 110 million Americans are now at risk of being exposed to PFAS chemicals.

In the second analysis, ProPublica compared how the military checks for and measures PFAS-related contamination to what’s identified by more advanced tests. We found that the military relied on tests which are not capable of detecting all the PFAS chemicals it believed to be present. Even then, it underreported its results, sharing only a small part if its data. We also found that the military’s own research programs had retested several of those defense sites using more advanced testing technology and identified significantly more pollution than what the military reported to Congress.

Even before the troubling new information about PFAS chemicals emerged, the government had acknowledged problems relating to them were spreading. Past EPA water testing, however incomplete, identified drinking water contamination across 33 states that Harvard researchers estimated affected some 6 million people. The military suspected drinking water at more than 660 U.S. defense sites where firefighting foam was used could be contaminated; earlier this year, it announced it had confirmed contamination in 36 drinking water systems and in 90 groundwater sites on or near its facilities.

The new analyses suggest these findings likely represent just a fraction of the true number of people and drinking water systems affected.

In written responses to questions, the EPA did not directly address whether it had understated contamination from PFAS chemicals. The agency said it had confidence in its current testing procedures and had set detection limits at appropriate levels. It also stated that it is taking steps towards regulating some PFAS compounds and registering them as “hazardous substances,” a classification that triggers additional oversight under waste and pollution laws.

The agency will “take concrete actions to ensure PFAS is thoroughly addressed and all Americans have access to clean and safe drinking water,” then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who recently resigned, said in the written statement to ProPublica in May.

The Department of Defense also responded to questions in writing, defending its testing methods as the best available and calling it difficult to fully assess risks from PFAS because the EPA has not regulated these chemicals. A DOD spokeswoman said the Pentagon’s research group has a program underway aimed at enhancing the test methods and detecting more PFAS compounds, but suggested that no alternatives were ready for use. She did not answer questions about why the agency reported contamination levels for only two chemicals to Congress when it would have had data on many more, stating only that the Pentagon “is committed to protecting human health and the environment.”

Environmental experts aren’t convinced.

“Widespread contamination may be harming the health of millions or even tens of millions of Americans and the government is intentionally covering up some of the evidence,” said Erik Olson, a senior director for health, food and agriculture initiatives at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in an interview. The EPA and Defense Department “have done all they can to sort of drag their feet and avoid meaningful regulatory action in making significant investment in cleanups.”

In May, a Politico report revealed that the EPA and the White House, along with the Defense Department, had pressured a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to withhold a health study expected to warn that people exposed to PFAS chemicals face greater health risks than were previously understood. That report was quietly released in mid-June and, indeed, estimated safe levels of exposure are seven to 10 times smaller than what the EPA has said.

Such a determination could spur stricter limits on exposure than the EPA appears to have considered. Paired with an emerging realization that testing by the EPA and DOD hasn’t captured the true extent of contamination, the government could be forced to reconceive its approach to these compounds, said David Sedlak, the director of the Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, who helped develop one of the most advanced commercial tests for PFAS substances.

“Not talking about it isn’t going to make the problem go away,” Sedlak said. “And because these compounds are forever — they aren’t going to degrade on their own — eventually there is going to be a day of reckoning.”

Click Here for more of this detailed report by


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Housing Society Maintenance Charges as per Bye Laws

Here is a quick compilation of Housing Societies’ Monthly Maintenance Charges and the method of allocation as per current Bye-Laws

Hope it helps

Housing Society Maintenance Charges as per Bye Law

Criminal Antecedents of Elected Candidates

 

Date: 4th November, 2018 Press Release

Wide Publication of Declaration of Criminal Antecedents of Contesting Candidates

New Delhi: Addressing the issue of increasing criminalisation of politics, a five-judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, had on 25th September, 2018, given five main directions to the candidates and the political parties distributing tickets to these candidates for contesting elections (Page-97 of the Judgement) They are:

(i)Each contesting candidate shall fill up the form as provided by the Election Commission and the form must contain all the particulars as required therein.

(ii) It shall state, in bold letters, with regard to the criminal cases pending against the candidate.

(iii) If a candidate is contesting an election on the ticket of a particular party, he/she is required to inform the party about the criminal cases pending against him/her.

(iv) The concerned political party shall be obligated to put up on its website the aforesaid information pertaining to candidates having criminal antecedents.

(v) The candidate as well as the concerned political party shall issue a declaration in the widely circulated newspapers in the locality about the antecedents of the candidate and also give wide publicity in the electronic media. When we say wide publicity,we mean that the same shall be done at least thrice after filing of the nomination papers.

After the Judgement of the Apex Court, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had issued a circular to all the Chief

Election Officers of the States and Union Territories apart from the President/ General Secretary of all recognised National and State Political Parties on 10th October, 2018ii. This circular, apart from highlighting the changes made to the format of the affidavits of the contesting candidates, had also directed all candidates with criminal cases against them, either pending or cases of conviction in the past, to publicise this information in newspapers with wide circulation. This direction of the Election Commission was also to all the political parties that set up candidates with criminal cases against them.

Directions to the contesting candidates

 

The ECI had insisted that a format (Format C-1) be followed …“at least on three different dates from the day following the last date for withdrawal of candidatures and up to two days before the date of poll.” While insisting that the order of the ApexCourt be followed in letter and spirit,the ECI had also recommended that “The declaration in newspapers should be published in font size 12 and should be placed suitably in the newspapers…”

The ECI had also directed the contesting candidates to submit copies of the newspapers in which their declarations about criminal cases were published to the District Electoral Officers at the time of filing their election expenditure statements (within 30 days of declaration of results of Assembly Elections).

Contesting candidates are required to “…publish the above declaration on TV channels in the State concerned on at least three different dates…” In order to adhere to the Model Code of Conduct, such declarations should be completed before 48 hours of polling date.

The candidates are also required to declare before the Returning Officers that they have informed their political parties of their criminal antecedents. This declaration has been included in the newly amended format of affidavit (Form-26) for contesting candidates.

 

Directions to the Political Parties

Similar to the format for declaration of criminal antecedents by contesting candidates,the ECI has also recommended a format (Format C-2) for political parties (recognised and unrecognised) to “… publish declaration giving details in this regard, for wide publicity, on their website as well as in TV channels and newspapers having wide circulation  in the State concerned.”

This declaration by political parties is also required to be done at least thrice on three different dates before the date of poll, in the same format and font size recommended for contesting candidates.

Political parties are required to “… submit a report to the Chief Electoral Officer of the State/ UT…” so as to confirm that the direction of the ECI had been followed, along with relevant newspaper cuttings.

The ECI has also stated that “ failure to abide by these directions would be treated as failure/ refusal to carry out a lawful direction of the Commission for the purposes of paragraph -16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation Allotment) Order, 1968.

This release is being circulated by ADR for larger public interest and wider voter awareness. We appeal to the print,  electronic and online media to monitor and highlight the fact whether the above mentioned directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the ECI are being followed and implemented by the Political Parties and their candidates.

Contacts

Media and Journalist Helpline +91 80103 94248

Email: adr@adrindia.org

Maj Gen Anil Verma (Retd.) Head – ADR & NEW +91 8826479910 anilverma@adrindia.org

Prof Jagdeep Chhokar IIM Ahmedabad (Retd)  Founder Member- ADR & NEW +919999620944 jchhokar@gmail.com

Prof Trilochan Sastry IIM Bangalore  Founder Member- ADR & NEW +919448353285, trilochans@iimb.ac.in

 

i For the complete judgement of the Supreme Court: https://adrindia.org/sites/default/files/judgment_on_de-criminalization_25-Sep-2018.pdf

ii For the notification of the ECI dated 10th Oct, 2018: https://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/Current/ImpInsPolPar_10102018.pdf

Courtesy : National Election Watch – http://www.myneta.info  & ADR – Association for Democratic Reforms – http://www.adrindia.org

How to Claim Road Accident Compensation As Per M.A.C.T Guidelines

Road Accident Compensation As Per M.A.C.T Guidelines

This article written by Anubhav Pandey perceives the Road accidents that happen in a day-to-day life, from a different angle and narrates How a victim can claim for Road Accident Compensation as per M.A.C.T. Guidelines.

What is the process that one should follow to get compensation after facing a road accident?The sight of the accident is very common on Indian roads. Over 400 people were killed in road accidents every day in 2015, government data reveals. The hapless victims are left paralyzed on the street and after by the intricacies involved in legal machinery.

Here is a simplified guide on how one can get compensation if it ever becomes a victim of a road accident.

Compensation to the Victims of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Rapid justice and speedy trial are two eyes of any justice delivery system. The justice delivery system in M.A.C.T (Motor Accident Claims Tribunal cases) is far away from satisfactory. Say, an owner of a brand new Mercedes while returning from his game of hunting crashes his car into a footpath, killing civilians over it.

There are two facets in this circumstance-

  1. One is the commission of the criminal offense.
  2. Second is the compensation claim.

What to Do After an Accident?

  • A case is registered by the local police on complaining or either they will take cognizance on their own. (Registration of F.I.R). For this-
  • One should take pictures of the accident scene or even a video for use as evidence later on. Even just a passer-by can do this and provide the photos or videos to police for support in investigation and delivery of justice.
  • They should, however, call the 100 number (police hotline) and inform what the situation is in a clear and calm manner.
  • What is said on this call gets recorded and can be used as evidence later on.
  • After this, police has to register FIR, investigate and then charge-sheet the accused. After this, the judicial mechanism will set itself into motion.
  • Legal intricacies involving demand of proper compensation to be put forward before MACT tribunal.

Who Can Claim Compensation in Motor Accident Cases?

Section 165 (claim for compensation) can be made–

  1. By the person who has sustained the injury.
  2. By the owner of the property where death has resulted from the motor accident.
  3. By all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased.
  4. By any agent duly authorized by the person injured or all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased, as the case may be.

Suggestive Read: How and when to file claims with Motor accidents claims tribunal?

Jurisdiction: Where Should One Claim Compensation for Motor Accident?

If a man from Calcutta is on a tour to Kanyakumari and gets involved in the motor accident at Kanyakumari then, where should he file a road accident compensation claim? The Procedure requires as follows:

  • Every application is to be mad at the option of the claimant, either to the Claims Tribunal who is having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident occurred. (Place Of Accident)
  • Or to the Claims Tribunal within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the claimant resides (Nearest Tribunal to Victim) or carries on business.
  • Or within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant resides(Nearest Tribunal Where The Accused Resides).[1]

If the Driver Had No Fault in the Motor Accident then, Can the Victim Still Get Road Accident Compensation?

A, as per her mother’s instruction went to a shop for local veggies. First, she looked left then right and then left and then took the zebra crossing. But, while crossing hurriedly, she was hit by a car. Even though there was no fault on either side, what could be the intricacies involved while demanding road accident compensation in this case?

No Fault Liability in Case of Motor Accident for Drivers

Where death or permanent disablement of any person has resulted from an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle, the owner of the vehicle or the owners of the vehicles, will be liable to pay road accident compensation in respect of such death or disablement.

In the case of death, the minimum sum to be paid is INR 50,000/- and in the case of disablement, a minimum sum to be paid is INR 25,000/-[2], and this minimum is subject to additional compensation which the tribunal might grant under s 163A.

For a victim, one does not need to prove the negligence of the opposite side, it is assumed. The victim need not be required to plead and establish that the death or permanent disablement in respect of which the claim has been made, was due to any wrongful act, neglect or default of the owner or owners of the vehicle or vehicles concerned or of any other person.

How Much Road Accident Compensation is One Entitled to in Case of Motor Vehicle Accident in India?

Simply put, if a driver is involved in an accident in India and if it caused victim’s death then, a minimum of INR 50,000/- and if permanent disablement is caused then, a minimum of INR 25,000/- must be paid.

A claims tribunal can pay even more after considering the case. The owner of the motor vehicle or the authorized insurer shall be liable to pay in the case of death or permanent disablement due to accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle under section 163A.

“There can be no doubt that, compensation claimed u/s 140 is governed by the no fault principle”.[3]

 

Permanent disablement for this purpose means

  1. Permanent privation of the sight of either eye or the hearing of either ear or privation of any member or joint.
  2. Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint.
  3. Permanent dis-figuration of the head or face.

Third Party Liability in Case of Car Accidents and Insurance Requirement

For instance: ‘A’ purchases a motor vehicle through a Nationalized Bank on 1.10.1993 and the said vehicle is insured for ‘The Period Of One Year’. He sells the vehicle to ‘B’ on 3.11.1993. The Motor Vehicle in the custody of ‘B’ meets with an accident on 6.11.1993 and the name of the owner of the said vehicle is not yet changed in the R.C Book. ‘A’ has not sent an application in the ‘Prescribed Form’ about the Transfer of Motor Vehicles to the Insurance Company immediately.[4]

  1. Whether the transfer of motor vehicle has to be allowed to put an end to the Insurance Policy automatically or
  2. Whether the mere transfer of motor vehicle entangles the statutory protection of just compensation amount to the victims.

The driving of an uninsured Motor Vehicles is an offense, requiring punishment for 3 months Or fine of one thousand Rupees under Section 196 of the act.

Moreover, in case of sale of a car or other vehicles, the person selling the motor vehicle shall apply within fourteen days, from the date of transfer, in the prescribed form to the insurer for making necessary changes in regard to the fact of transfer in the certificate of insurance and the policy described in the certificate in his favor and the insurer shall make the necessary changes in the certificate and the policy of insurance in regard to the transfer of insurance.

The transfer of the motor vehicle puts an end to the compulsory insurance policy itself as the application in the ‘prescribed form’ is not sent to the Insurance Company.

Further, the complication arises when the said vehicle is hypothecated by a Nationalized Bank and under such circumstances, the poor victims are shoved to the ‘sea of troubles’ for their inability of getting the compensation amount in time.

Is A Pillion Rider Entitled to Road Accident Compensation in A Case of Two-Wheeler Accident Or A Co-Passenger in Case of Car Accident?

The Supreme Court created a precedent to be followed in cases involving pillion riders and co-passengers.

  • The liability of the insurance company in a case of this nature is not extended to a pillion rider or a co-passenger of the motor vehicle unless the requisite amount of premium is paid for covering his/her risk.
  • The pillion rider in a two wheeler or a co-passenger in a car is not to be treated as a third party when the accident has taken place owing to the rash and negligent riding of the two-wheeler or car and not on the part of the driver of another vehicle.[5]

It is thus settled that, the liability of the insurance company is not extended to a pillion rider or a co-passenger of the motor vehicle unless the requisite amount of premium is paid for covering this risk.

  • The legal obligation cannot be extended to an injury or death of the owner of the vehicle or the pillion rider. Further, the pillion rider on a two-wheeler cannot be treated as a third party when the accident has taken place owing to the rash and negligent riding of the scooter and not on the part of the driver of another vehicle.

Road Accident Compensation in Case Where Both Driver And the Victim Were Negligent

What if victims were also negligent while the driver was also negligent and the accident occurred due to the contributory negligence of both parties?

For example, someone starts driving on a one-way road in the wrong direction while another car is driving in the right direction but, without headlights on. The two collide which results in severe injury to the two wheeler driver. Would he be entitled to any road accident compensation?

  • Contributory negligence is when the claimant himself has been negligent and has contributed to the occurrence of the accident. In contributory negligence, the victim himself has contributed and therefore, his compensation gets reduced in proportion to his fault. Thus, if the victim is equally negligent and has contributed to the accident in equal measures, he would get only half the compensation.
  • On the other hand, Composite negligence means where the accident occurs due to the negligence of two or more persons but, not the victim. In an accident involving two or more vehicles, where a third party claims damages for loss or injuries, it is said that the road accident compensation is payable in respect of the composite negligence of the drivers of those vehicles.

In such a case, each wrongdoer is jointly and severally liable to the injured for the payment of the entire damages and the injured person has the choice of proceeding against all or any of them.[6]

What Happens in Case of the Accident Caused by an Underage Driver?

Chachu giving keys to his niece and nephew is common in India. But, what would a person do if he is hit by a minor driving a vehicle? In these cases, Insurance company does not provide with road accident compensation on behalf of the insurer and the liability lies on the child’s legal parent or guardian.

Compensation Provided in Motor Vehicle Accident Where Victim is a Child

A child is not the bread earner of the family and hence, the death of a child during a motor vehicle accident involves different intricacies. Along with awarding for pecuniary losses, the court also has to award for future losses. Pain and suffering caused because of the sudden demise of life, the age of the child, while the accident took place, etc has to be factored in.

The apex court formed a point that, while considering such claims, child’s performance in school, the reputation of the school etc. might be taken into consideration.When records show that the children were good in studies and were studying in a reasonably good school [7] then naturally, their future prospect would be presumed to be good and bright. Since they were children, there is no yardstick to measure the loss for future prospects of these children. However, as already noted, they were performing well in studies, the natural consequence was supposed to be a bright future.

What Happens in the Case Where Victim of a Motor Vehicle Accident is a Housewife?

When the victim of an accident is a housewife then the settled law is [8] “for the purpose of awarding compensation to the dependents” some pecuniary estimate has to be made of the services of housewife/mother.

The amount payable to the dependants cannot be diminished on the ground that some other family member can take care of the well-being of the family as the deceased housewife did. In its wisdom, the legislature had, as early as in 1994, fixed the notional income of a non-earning person at Rs.15,000/- per annum and in the case of a spouse, 1/3rd income of the earning/surviving spouse for the purpose of computing the road accident compensation.

Plight of the Victims Due to Ambulance Chaser

The legal profession has its share of ‘ambulance chasers,’ as they are called in some of the western countries. These are the lawyers who make a living out of the motor vehicle accidents. It is a well-oiled network where the lawyers and the police act in close co-ordination[9].

It is woeful to note that the moment an accident takes place, the Police Inspector concerned gets in touch with the particular network of lawyers. Such lawyers swoop on the hapless victims who are in a confused state and even when the dead body is placed for funeral ceremony or the said ceremony is just over, they allure the said victims with promises of getting the huge road accident compensation amount, without spending any amount of money from their purse even for the stamps in the M.A.C.T petitions.

The poor overwhelmed accident victims believe the promises of such lawyers and entrust the briefs to them by signing the blank papers, including stamped papers and withdrawal slips, in advance without the knowledge of the victims in such cases. Further, their counsels themselves enter into the compromise with the Insurance company as to the compensation amount, even without the consent or knowledge of the victims.

Compensation Provided to the Victim in Hit And Run Cases

In Salman Khan’s case– “The verdict doesn’t really affect us in any way,” Mohammad Kaleem, 35, tells The Indian Express from Sultanpur. “How do we benefit if he is sent to jail? I received Rs 1.5 lakh in compensation but, it was spent on my treatment. We’re poor and the jail term won’t fill our stomachs.”

Section 163 A  of M.V. Act deals with the situations involving hit and run cases.After the accident, either the victim or his legal representative can file an application to the Claim Officer of the taluka where the jurisdiction lies. After the proper inquiry and the procedure involving submission of post mortem certificate or injury certificate, road accident compensation may be provided from the solatium fund created by the government within 15 days.

Time Limit for Filing of Complaint Before the Tribunal for Motor Vehicle Accidents in India

There is no time limitation for filing road accident compensation claims before the tribunal in respect of any accident. Parliament realized the grave injustice and injury which was being caused to the heirs and legal representatives of the victims, who died in accidents, by rejecting their claim petitions only on the ground of limitation. [10]

Who is to Compensate in Cases of an Accident of Bus Passengers in India

Situations, where passengers get down of bus even before the bus stops or in the traffic jams, in such or similar circumstances, the conductor and the driver must be careful and they have a duty towards the passengers in not allowing them to be injured in any way. [11]

A lady passenger was getting down the bus and her one foot was on the footboard and other on the road, when the conductor gave the whistle and the driver moved the bus and she was knocked down and was dragged along by the body of the bus and sustained fatal injuries. It is the crew of the bus who is negligent for the accident which occurs at a place where the bus is to stop, though it is not a bus stop.

“But the fundamental duty of both the driver as well as the conductor is to verify specifically, whether any passengers is getting into the bus or is getting down from the bus, before actually the bus is moved from the bus stop where it is stopped, irrespective of the fact whether that place or stopping is a bus stop or not”.[12]

The onus to compensate the victim lies on the owner of the bus or the insurance company of the bus owner.

Factors Affecting the Claim for Compensation of Motor Vehicle Accident in India

While awarding a claim for compensation, the court looks for the following factors-[13]

  1. All the parties are heard (including the insurer). Tribunal decides the case on merits (Example on above as, whether there was a third party risk involved or not, whether there was composite or contributory negligence or not etc.)
  2. When a road accident compensation is awarded, the person who is required to pay that amount has to pay it within 30 days of announcing of orders.
  3. Even simple interest is applied on the amount from the date of making of claims.[14] When the person required to pay the road accident compensation is willingly or otherwise not paying the amount, the tribunal can order Collector to recover the money as it happens in cases of arrears of land revenue.[15]

 

That’s all about “How can one claim for Road Accident Compensation as per M.A.C.T. Guidelines”. Comment Below your views. And, Don’t forget to share the article.

 

References:

[1] Section 166,(3)(2) of Motor Vehicle Act,1988.
[2] Section 140, Motor Vehicle Act,1988
[3] (National Insurance company ltd v Sinitha and ors, 2012 2 scc 356
[4] Sri. C. Lakshmi Narain, Claims for Compensation Before Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals,(1998) 1 LW (JS) 17
[5] Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Sudhakaran K.V.(2008) 7 SCC 428.
[6] Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation vs. K. Hemlatha,AIR 2008 SC 2851.
[7] General Manager, Kerala S. R. T. C. v. Susamma Thomas, (1994) 2 SCC 176
[8]  Arun Kumar Agarwal vs. National Insurance Company AIR 2010 SC 3426
[9] LEGAL FILE’ in the Sunday Magazine, ‘Hindu’ Dated: 27.12.1992)
[10] 1994 Amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 as
[11] M.Jaganath V. Pallavan Transport Corporation Ltd,1996 SCC Online Mad 524
[12] Venkataswami Motor Service v. C.K Chinnaswamy, 1989 ACJ 371
[13] S 168, Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.
[14] S 171, Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.
[15] S 174, Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.

 

https://blog.ipleaders.in/road-accident-compensation-claim/

Detect Adulteration with Rapid Test (DART)

Common Quick Tests for detection of Food Adulterants at your house.

The purpose of this manual is to list out common methodologies available for food adulterants generally found in India.

The scope of this manual, prepared by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is to induce awareness among the consumers for Food Safety

Click Here for DART

An Ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act of 1960

An Ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act of 1960, dated 30th October 2018 with immediate effect

Salient features of New Housing Chapter in MCS Act 1960.
1. Elections to the housing societies fir less than 200 members to be conducted internally by the society .

2. Concept of new members like Joint and provisional members introduced

3. Concept of Coop Hsg Association introduced to facilitate the formation of association of less than 5 societies for conveyance or Deemed conveyance matters .

4. Penaltyof Rs.25000 on Management committee introduced for not allowing inspections of documents u/s 32.

5.Scope of Sec.32 in inspection of documents widened .

6.Role of Housing federations widened .

7. HUF is specially included as person in the definition which was not included earlier .

8. Defaulter is specifically defined now in the Act itself.

CA Shilpa Shinagare
Member of Hsg Chapter Committee of Ministry of Coop .MH

How Government Agencies Harass Consumers through Endless Litigation

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It is not for nothing that Indian courts are clogged and government is the biggest litigant. What is worse, the actions of government agencies in shirking responsibility for deficient service actually ends up harassing the people, tantamount to using public money with no accountability.
Whenever a complaint is filed against a government department, the standard ploy to evade accountability is to claim that the complainant is not a ‘consumer’ within the definition of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (COPRA). If nothing else, it ensures a delay in legal proceedings while the court first decides this issue.
Until recently, every one of us had to engage with the post-office for multiple reasons. In the initial years after COPRA came into force, any complaint against the postal authorities used to be brushed aside on the claim that post-office was doing duty as a part of the government and no action can be taken against the government.
Over the years, it has been settled that when a government agency is not performing a sovereign duty, but providing services of commercial nature, it cannot hide behind the cloak of sovereignty and shirk its responsibility towards its consumers.
Let’s look at some examples of how government agencies harass consumers by dodging responsibility and delaying grievance resolution.
Late Rama Chandra Jain had purchased 692 Indira Vikas Patras (IVP) in the name of his sons, daughters, etc, from the head post-office at Bolangir (Odisha). He lost all the 692 IVPs and reported it to the local police station on 25 June 2001. This, in turn, was intimated to superintendent of post-office, Bolangir, requesting it to stay payment of the maturity value of the lost IVPs until the claim was properly verified.
The deceased Mr Jain had also purchased 88 IVPs in favour of his son, the complainant in this case. On maturity of these 88 IVPs, the complainant raised a demand of Rs8,80,000 towards maturity value. The claim was rejected by the post-office citing some rules.
A complaint was filed in the district forum which ruled in favour of the son, on the basis of a precedent in the case of Ram Nath Mathuria vs Union of India in RP No. 1725/2001 decided by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in March 2002.
In that case, it had been held that “in the absence of any other claim on the basis of the original IVPs, maturity value should be released in favour of the claimants after taking an indemnity bond to secure interest of the department.”
Accordingly, the district forum directed the post-office to release payment of the maturity value of 88 IVPs amounting to Rs880,000 to the complainant on his furnishing an indemnity bond within 35 days of the order. For any delay in payment, a penalty of Rs20 per day would be imposed until realisation.
The post-office filed an appeal before the state commission; this was dismissed on 30 December 2016 because representatives of the post-office failed to turn up for hearings before the commission. Shockingly, the post-office then filed a writ petition before the Odisha High Court in 2017 against the order of the state commission. As was to be expected, the Court dismissed the writ petition as withdrawn, since it was misconceived. That didn’t end the matter. The post-office again filed a miscellaneous case before the state commission which, too, was dismissed on 13 April 2018.
Once again, notwithstanding the pain inflicted on the complainant, the post-office had the temerity to file a revision petition in NCDRC against the state commission’s order.
The counsel for the post-office contended that complainant was not a consumer and, hence, no deficiency in service had been committed by the post-office. As such, the complaint was not maintainable.
But, remember, the district forum had already given a detailed order covering this issue and had even referred to an NCDRC order of 2002 on the subject.
NCDRC noted that there was no other claimant for the said amount; but the post-office could verify and take due precautions like indemnity bond, etc, for securing its interests and directed it to pay at least the maturity value to the complainant, after having failed in the several rounds of litigation.
In 2002, NCDRC had elaborately discussed a similar matter and directed the postal department to release the money, as sufficient time had elapsed since the date of maturity. Therefore, NCDRC concluded that it was clear that there was no error in the order passed by the district forum.
The sad part is that a hapless consumer, who was a customer of the post-office, was dragged through various rounds of litigation by an obdurate government agency for no fault of his (Superintendent of Post Office, Bolongir vs Jambu Kumar Jain, Rourkela—NCDRC order dated 11/09/2018).
Another case involves the regional provident fund commissioner’s office, Haryana (RPFC) and a provident fund (PF) subscriber. The subscriber filed a complaint against the RPFC on the ground that his pension had been wrongly fixed as Rs551 per month instead of Rs835 per month as per the Employees Pension Scheme, 1995. The complainant claimed that he was a member of Employees Provident Fund Scheme, 1995, for more than 35 years; therefore, he was entitled to the maximum benefit under the Scheme.  After hearing both parties, the district forum, on 25 August 2003, observed that the minimum monthly pension will be Rs 335 plus Rs500 adding up to Rs835 and not Rs551.
The order also directed the RPFC to re-examine the complainant’s case on the basis of a notification by the labour ministry on 16 November 1995. The RPFC was ordered to comply with the consumer forum’s order within 30 days. When the RPFC failed to comply with the order, the district forum issued bailable warrants of Rs5,000 with one surety for the like amount on 1 May 2006. RPFC filed a revision petition before the state commission against both orders; but it was also dismissed.
RPFC then filed a revision petition before NCDRC which heard counsel for RPFC including a request to condone a 246-day delay in filing the petition. Although NCDRC condoned the delay through its order of December 2008, it imposed a cost of Rs10,000 on RPFC.
NCDRC noted that the primary issue involved was to re-fix the complainant’s pension as per directions of the district forum. However, it noted that application for condonation of delay made two things very clear. One, that the department had agreed to abide by the order of the state commission and fix the pension as per the order of the district forum. Secondly, that the revision petition was based on the notification dated 15.6.2007 which was perhaps not available before the district forum or the state commission. Since the notification was a new ground that had been taken up by RPFC in the revision petition, it could not be considered at that stage. Finding no merit in the revision petition, NCDRC dismissed it.
Once again, it is the hapless consumer who was made to run from one forum to another due to the dilatory tactics adopted by a government department with public money.
While we correctly raise a hue and cry for poor service rendered by private companies, the fact is that government departments, often, fail the consumer even more because of the ineptitude, lack of accountability and high-handedness of government babus.